Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Heresy of Ray Comfort

Having taken an extended break from arguing with creationists, Ray comfort in particular, I have recently been drawn back in to such discussion. Refuting Comforts unsubstantiated and ridiculous assertions about science and atheists is childishly easy. I would however expect that on his turf, the Christian religion, he would be more competent. Sadly this is not the case. His most recent blog post about the book of Luke so badly represents what is indicated by the Christian myths that it is almost painful to read. He goes about constantly talking about the need to repent and obey, yet the Christ figure claims that salvation is a free gift and only belief in Christ is required for eternal salvation.

Here is that most recent post and my response to it which has also been posted at The SMRT forum

61 But they said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name." 62 So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, "His name is John." So they all marveled. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. 65 Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea.

If you remember, Zacharius refused to believe what God said to him through His angel. He therefore deemed God to be a liar. That is the insult of unbelief, and he was punished by God for his sin by being struck dumb. However, the moment he became obedient to God by naming his son John, God did a personal miracle for him. His mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed.

Disobedience comes naturally to all human beings--anyone who has kids can tell you that. We don’t have to teach our children to be selfish, to lie, to be greedy, or to be rebellious. We are born rebels. Yet, despite the multitude of sins that we each have, God will do a miracle for us the moment we obey Him. Speaking of Jesus, the Bible says "though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him..." (Hebrews 5:8-9).

Jesus is the "author" of eternal salvation. That means He grants everlasting life to anyone who obeys Him. Why should you obey Him? What has He done for you? He gave you eyes to see His incredible creation, ears to enjoy music and the sounds of the birds He created. He gave you the ability to love, to laugh, to sing, to think. He lavished His kindness upon you by giving you the gift of live itself. Have you thanked God for your life, and asked what He would have you do? The moment you obey the gospel you will no longer be dumb. God will open your mouth and you will speak of His kindness and praise Him for His goodness, much to the distain of a proud and rebellious world:

"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad" (Psalm 34:1-2).


Since the scripture claims that one must simply believe in Jesus in order to receive eternal life where is this talk about obeying him coming from. That sounds like a works based doctrine which is contrary to the words of your savior.

While it would be reasonable to suggest that those who believe would obey, it does not follow that one must obey or repent in order to believe. It seems you are reading things in to the book of Luke which run contrary to the words of Jesus Christ himself.

Even if the book of Luke does mean what you are claiming, that only means that Dr. Luke was teaching a doctrine contrary to the words of Christ who I would imagine is the actual authority according to your faith. Wasn't there a name given for those who claim things in the name of Jesus that he never said? I believe it was false prophet.

Now since I see the whole Gospel as just a silly collection of stories it doesn't affect me if you wish to distort it. However since you purport to believe in these stories one would think you would wish to be honest about what they actually say.

Another interesting flaw in the reasoning of Ray Comfort is (along with many other fundamentalists) is his interpretation of Romans one, which is believed to indicate that all atheists Do in fact believe in the Christian deity but choose to reject it. However according to Christ all that is required for salvation is belief. This indicates that either (a)Atheists who according to Paul really do believe are every bit as much saved as "True Christians" and it is only those who believe in other "false" deities who are in danger of hell. (This would explain why Idolatry was seen as worth mentioning in the decalogue but atheism was not considered important enough to worry about. It would also absolve some of the evil attributed to the Christian deity for burning those who have never heard of the Christian myths) OR (b) That interpretation of Romans is incorrect.

However if (b) is true it refutes the common apologetic that atheists do believe and have no excuse. However this interpretation of Romans is frequently used to counter the claims by atheists that it is an evil doctrine that the Christian myth figure punishes those who do not believe when it could have provided them with belief. This either means that atheists are saved by virtue of their presupposed belief or the Christian deity is an evil one.

In any case the obvious conclusion is that all of the doctrines of Christianity are simply a flawed and contradictory collection of old myths.


Tracy said...

Faith and repentance work together. It is not a contradiction.

If faith was only required, people would believe as a sort of fire insurance from hell. That isn't even saving faith. That is an intellectual assent.

Repentance seems to be simultaneous with the faith that the Lord requires. Faith of the heart.

Belief and repentance are required for salvation. Heaven is still a free gift. Repentance isn't earning your way to heaven. An unbeliever can repent. But unless he repents toward God and receives His forgiveness in doesn't mean diddley squat to God. Although the fruit of repentance in the unbeleiver's life may be for good.

You can never wrap your mind around this. The scriptures may seem contradictory to you. This can only be understood through experience.

Regarding Romans 1
This refers to all mankind knowing the Truth, and being without excuse.
"They held the truth as a captive or prisoner, that it should not influence them, as otherwise it would. An unrighteous wicked heart is the dungeon in which many a good truth is detained and buried." Matthew Henry

Don't let your heart be a dungeon to suppress the truth. (YOU KNOW THE TRUTH!) Or you know enough about the Truth. Stop forbidding the Truth to influence you. Look squarely into the face of the Truth and let the Truth have its way!

Creation is a means in which God reveals Himself and you just won't allow it. Instead you rise up and use creation as a means to prove God does not exist.

Ryk said...

So is or is not belief alone sufficient for salvation.

Yes or No would be fine. Any answer other than yes indicates that works are required. If as I have interpreted your post repentance is seen as a result of salvation I accept that as consistent with scripture, this is not however the doctrine espoused by Ray Comfort, who despite his protestations to the contrary, has made such things as obedience, repentance, and acknowledgement of sin as provisions for receiving this salvation. Thusly Mr. Comfort is teaching a theology contrary to what is put forth in the Bible.

That is the point I am attempting to address with Mr. Comfort, although currently only his disciple Amy has chosen to engage. I don't care from any personal concern how Mr. Comfort wants to manage his religion or his business. I do however want to expose the fact that his grasp of theology is as weak as his grasp of science.

Ryk said...

Creation can not be used as a means to prove the existence of God. In order to define something as creation it must first be demonstrated that it was created. The existence of a god or gods could be used to prove the universe is a creation but the reverse is not the case. It is simply a universe of an inadequately understood nature. The simple fact of it's existence does not presuppose a creator and therefore it can not be properly designated as a creation.

You and other creationists are conflating the usage of the word creation as it applies to designate something known to be created with the literary device used by various religions which refers to the universe as a creation.

While you may be doing so out of a simple misunderstanding. For many this is a deliberate ruse in order to frame theological discussions in a manner that causes the creationist to avoid responsibility for developing his position.

Tracy said...

Belief and repentance works together. I believed and repented at the same time.
Repentance is not "works" based combined with saving faith. It's an act of obedience.

You speak can only speak of the Bible from an intellectual perspective. Therefore you cannot possibly have a correct interpretation. Though you are intelligent and make sense,your mind is limited.

I speak of it from divine revelation by God Himself. From an unlimited source, God.

I know very little of what Ray Comfort has to say on the subject.

I am just speaking from the heart.

Tracy said...

Creation is used to reveal that God is real.

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." Romans

See how this indicates that you can understand by the things that are made?

Take Him up on it. Yield.

Ryk said...

It makes no sense to say believe what the Bible says because the Bible says it. It is like saying believe that there is a place called Hpgwarts school of wizardry because it says so In the Harry Potter books which are about Hogwarts school of wizardry. It basically means nothing.

I am sure the scriptures mean something to you but that is because you already believe. That is exactly the flaw I described in the argument from creation earlier. It is circular, the only evidence of it being true is because it says it is true. I know you have said before that you like circular reasoning and that is fine for reinforcing your own personal belief system. In fact I am sure it is very satisfying. However it is not persuasive or convincing and says nothing about what is or is not true.

Besides what is there to "yield" to. The stories put forth in a book of bronze age myths which themselves are a corruption of even older myths. To me that is yielding only to imagination. I have tried to look at these stories as if they were true. To force myself to buy into that circular reasoning and abandon critical thinking but it is beyond me. I think that is why not only you but most theists of all religions embrace circular logic. If you used critical analysis you would find yourself no longer believing.

I have no objection to your believing nor do I think being Christian in any way makes you ignorant or dishonest and certainly not less intelligent. My point is that Ray Comfort is ignorant, dishonest and stupid and would be regardless of his brand of religion or lack thereof. I think he is lucky to be a preacher because in a carear where he had to know or do anything he would fail miserably.

I doubt he is even a believer, his grasp of theology is weak and flawed and he appears too arrogant, vain and self serving to actually practice what he preaches. My belief is that his "ministry" is simply the only niche he could find that would pay him for spouting off poorly concieved analogies and ill informed opinions.

I don't hate the man he has never harmed me personally and has occasionally been civil. However I wouldn't trust him in any way that mattered, certainly not for something as important as how to live my life.

You I trust, I have no doubt that you mean what you say and are saying it for the best of reasons. I simply do not believe you are correct.

Tracy said...

I think a critical analyzing thinker as yourself and faith can work together. God never required us to check our brains at the door.

If God truly created you (as you know I beleive)wouldn't He also understand you. If He made your mind, intellect, and designed you to be wired the way you are- He would surley know how you operate. He certainly knows how to meet you right where you are at.

Thank you for finding me trustworthy. I hadn't thought about whether I trust you or not until now. Trust is a difficult thing for me. I have trusted you with lots of private info about my life, in the hopes that it might help you somehow. Yes, I suppose I trust you. I can trust that you will always be straight up and real with me. And I truly appreciate that! I trust you as a loyal friend.

Tracy said...

Jiminey Crickets!!! I always mistype that word. I actually know how to spell it, but my fingers don't.

Ryk said...

Thank you

Tracy said...

Your newer post doesn't allow me to leave comments. I'm not sure if you are aware of that. It shows an envelope, that's it.

Just wanted to say that it's fascinating how music changes through the years.

Ryk said...

Not sure what the problem was but it is working now